Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Decision is Made

Those of you who know me well, will know that I have been contemplating hip replacement surgery for quite some time. This will be my second hip replacement. My right hip was replaced in 2003 and I am happy to say that it was successful.

Shortly after that surgery, however, my left hip began to deteriorate quickly due to the degenerative bone disease (avascular necrosis or AVN) that I have in my hip joints. I told myself after the last surgery that I would not wait too long for surgery next time. I felt putting off surgery had hindered my recovery because my muscles had weakened from disuse, caused by the pain of movement. While I don't feel I have waited too long, as I did last time, I do sense that I procrastinated longer than I should have.

Why did I wait so long? One word. Fear. The first surgery was tortuously painful. Way more frightful than I anticipated. I have lived with daily pain for many years. I have carried and given birth to four children (while in pain from the aforementioned AVN). I have received fillings without adequate amounts of Novocaine (that's a story for another time). I felt I was adequately prepared for a little post-op pain.

I wasn't expecting to wake up in the recovery room and truly understand the meaning of that 1-10 pain scale. If you think you have experienced a 10 while giving birth -- think again. This was worse. Much worse. It felt like this - the train not only ran over me, but sensing that he may have been mistaken, the conductor backed over me to make good and sure I was hit. It was abhorrent enough to give me a mental block against every going through it again.

Nevertheless, here I am, preparing to have the same operation once more. My doctor assures me that new pain blocking techniques have been established and it will be less distressing than my previous adventure. I certainly hope so.

I am also promised a shortened recovery period. After my surgery on November 4th (I'll vote early), I am ambitious enough to believe that after about six weeks of convalescence, I will be moving around easily. To be pain free after 14 years will be freedom, indeed.